Black-Owned Beauty Brands are Finally Seeing an Increased Presence at Major Retailers

Updated: Jun 16


Fortune | June 8, 2021


When Rose Ingleton launched her own skincare line two years ago, she couldn't break into the big chains and was forced to use her own funds and get financial help from family and friends. But things changed after the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests last year. Ingleton reconnected with beauty chain Sephora and now her products can be found on Sephora’s website, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.


“There was this sudden awareness," Ingleton said. “I am now at the top food chain. I'm now getting ready to approach deeper pocket investors.”


Retailers from Sephora to Walmart and Target have focused on increasing their offerings of Black-owned brands across all categories as a key strategy to combat racial bias. They're also developing entrepreneurship programs and trying to create a pipeline of new talent.


Beauty brands for Black women have been around for years, but they’ve struggled to get shelf space in stores, says Tiffany Gill, an associate professor of history who wrote a book called “Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry.” Black entrepreneurs continue to be pigeon-holed by retailers and investors who think their products are only for women of color. And beauty brands catering to women of color continue in some cases to be locked up in stores.


It wasn't until last summer's Black Lives Matter protests that Black-owned brands started to see more interest from investors and retailers.


Black entrepreneur Monique Rodriguez, who co-founded natural hair care company Mielle Organics, saw her sales increase at a faster rate last year over previous years. “I don’t think it will fade," she said of the efforts to diversify beauty. ”It is here to stay, but we have to put forth an effort that our voices continue to be heard."


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Photo Courtesy of WGSN